After reading the playwright The Merchant of Venice, written by William Shakespear, I felt somewhat broken by my different opinions. William Shakespeare creates conflicting ideas which lead the reader to ponder: is Shylock justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh? I think he is justified.
Shylock is justified to take a pound of Antonio’s flesh because both parties agreed previously upon the contract. If Antonio was not willing to give Shylock a pound of flesh from wherever he desired then he would not have signed the contract. Antonio knowing the rudeness he exacted on Shylock, would know the type of revenge that Shylock wants.
“I am as like to call thee so again, To spit on thee again, to spurn thee too. If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not As to thy friends, for when friendship take A breed for barren metal of his friend? But lent it rather to thine enemy, Who if he break, thou mayst with better face Exact the penalty.” (Shakespear, Act 1, Scene 3, Line 125-132).
This quote of Antonio demonstrates how he is fully aware of the consequences and he knows Shylock’s motives. Even though the contract is very harsh, it must be followed because if not, then Venice (where the play takes place) will lose all sense of order, and the Jewish people who already have less power than the Christians, will have no protection.
Shylock was justified to demand a pound of Antonio’s flesh because it was stated in their contract that Antonio knew the consequences of not following the contract. Antonio was willing to risk his “life” for the money to fund Bassanios’ excursion to find a wife. Shylock was mistreated during the trial, as Portia turned the tides against Shylock by specifying a drop of blood must not be shed. However, Shylock should have been allowed to take a pound of flesh because in doing this, it would be a given that blood would be spilled. The bond insinuates that with flesh comes blood and it would be common knowledge for Antonio to be aware of these consequences. Shylock is wrongly convicted of practicing usury because the rates were agreed upon and at the time which the play first took place, people being killed by one another for petty things, was seen as more common.